Some writers and artists leave their agency jobs to become freelancers and gain a sense of freedom. Copywriter and producer Jim McKenna felt more freedom when he did the reverse, getting back into advertising and marketing agency work after freelancing. In the creative department of Freedman, Gibson & White, McKenna is free to concentrate on what he loves, without having to answer the phones and handle all the other tasks of running one's own business.

"Here I can just be a creative. I'm free to not be Mr. Client Services person," McKenna remarks. "I love presenting to clients, but it's nice to have that be a contained thing."

Two of the agency's four partners are involved in creative work: Tim Gibson, also known as the Word Guy, and Kim White, the Picture Guy. That's one reason why the creative department at FG&W is respected and not subject to interference, McKenna says. This fall, the creative staff grew to include individuals from Loren/Allan/Odioso, a Cincinnati advertising agency acquired by FG&W.

"The whole point of the process is to get the best input from everybody, and I feel like we do really good work here," McKenna emphasizes.

He describes his work as taking everyday, ordinary business problems and coming up with "whacked-out, off-the-wall" solutions in the form of creative TV, print or radio spots. But he points out that although "we may dress how we want and talk funny, we're really business people."

Like other business people, the FG&W team has to understand strategies, prioritize work, juggle a number of jobs and meet deadlines in a deadline-driven industry. To dream up effective advertising, the team must first steep itself in information about the client, its products or services, and the intended customers.

"You're not free to do whatever you want"”it's very tightly constrained," McKenna remarks. "So you write (ideas) down on pieces of paper and put them up on a board, and every idea on that board has to in some way call attention to the client's product and make it appealing in a way that's consistent with (the client and its brand)."

McKenna, who has created ads for clients ranging from hospitals to Roto-Rooter, most enjoys the "splash and fun" of TV spots and the collaboration they require.

As for the future in advertising, McKenna notices a decline in celebrity content and less reliance on sex in advertising. "I'd like to think that what's coming up is a wave of deep creativity, high concept stuff."